Thursday 3 July 2014

TFTD - 03 July 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

03 July 2014

1 Samuel 15
Isaiah 59
Matthew 3; 4


King Saul was highly successful in destroying the Amalekites, but we note what Samuel said to him  [1 Samuel 15:1-3] before he did this!  After giving him the reasons why the Amalekites should be destroyed, Samuel tells him, “Now go and strike Amalek, and devote to destruction all that they have.  Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”    In 1 Samuel 15:7-9 we read “And Saul defeated Amalek … and devoted to destruction all the people … But Saul and the people spared … the best of the sheep and oxen … and all that was good …. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.”

What a valuable lesson there is in the LORD’s reaction to Saul’s selective obedience to his commands.  Samuel is sent to express God’s anger at his failure to obey him properly, he tells Saul, “Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD?  Why did you pounce on the spoil  and do what was evil in the sight of the LORD?” [1 Samuel 15:19]  Saul claims in reply, “I have obeyed the voice of the LORD” [1 Samuel 15:20], but he only did so partly.  His claim is that the animals were saved to offer as sacrifices - and of course, as a result, Saul and the people enjoyed much feasting! The phrase “the voice of the LORD” should cause us to meditate - they did not hear his actual voice - and neither do we!  We have his word - that is “the voice of the LORD” for us.

Then Samuel makes a very vital point, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?” [1 Samuel 15:22]  What a clear and vital lesson this is for us - it dovetails in with Isaiah’s message at the start of today’s Isaiah 59.  “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save … but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”

If there were prophets like Samuel and Isaiah around today what kind of message would they give?  Let us not pick and choose only the parts of God’s word we like - to believe and obey - let us live so that we can in truth say in our prayers - and on THAT day, “I have obeyed…”
- DC

Thought for the Day

03 July 2014

"By the power of God the "Kingdom of God came" (Matthew 16:28; Luke 9:27) ... "Thus was the power of the Kingdom seen in its King as the first of all the "righteous who shall shine": first in time and first in eminence. The manifestation of that glory was no mere appearance: in one moment’s transformation Jesus had a foretaste of that state of life which was to be his beyond the Cross; and the three who were eyewitnesses saw the Kingdom of God come with power."

- L.G. Sargent
The Gospel of the Son of God
1 Samuel 15:18
"And the Lord sent thee on a JOURNEY, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed"

Saul was called to go a journey to destroy the Amalekites, the Amalekites are representative of the flesh. We have also been called to go on a journey (the WAY of life), and also a journey to destroy the flesh in our lives.

The 1st use of the Hebrew is:
"So He (God) drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the WAY of the tree of life" (Gen 3:24)

The Hebrew translated "JOURNEY" is translated most "way", and is the same word "way" in verse 20. Where Saul tells Samuel he had gone the "way" of the LORD. There is great warning for us in this, in Saul's own eyes he done according to what God required, but he had been persuaded to change, had not understood and recognised this.

This problem is not confined to Saul, we must as Paul says be examining our position and every decision we make in our lives, as to whether it means we are truly going forward on the WAY of life, or just making a journey to destruction:
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor 13:5)

Sadly there will be those like Saul who have failed to see where their journey has been really heading:
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt 7:20-23)

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